The Brabson Library and Educational Foundation has awarded $7,437 to help Indiana University researchers better measure the impact of campus buildings on bird populations and to develop strategies to make the university safer for birds. Many bird populations are in steep decline and window strikes are partly responsible. The project is led by Sarah Wanamaker, lab manager for Ellen Ketterson (Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology) and research associate with the IU Environmental Resilience Institute.
The additional funding will allow Wanamaker to expand on a preliminary campus survey she conducted in the fall of 2020, which documented 88 fatal window strikes across two months. The research team can now expand its search area and increase the number of monitored buildings during the fall 2021 migratory season. In addition to collecting and analyzing data, the team is also creating and publicizing a “Lights Out” campaign to alert the campus community to the danger nighttime lighting poses to birds, especially during periods of migration.
“In its efforts to support novel forms of education, the Brabson Library and Educational Foundation is fully aware of the importance of bringing young scientists into the world of research,” Ben Brabson said of the project. “Investigating avian window strikes is an excellent example of a simple research project that starts the scientific careers of several young investigators. The fundamental idea of solving problems by collecting reliable data is central to all learning.”
Wanamaker’s bird strikes project has also recently received funding from the Amos Butler Audubon Society.
“Ultimately, the data from our studies will be used to raise awareness on the issue of bird-building collisions,” explained Wanamaker. “Working with our partners, such as the City of Bloomington and IU building managers, our mission is to reduce bird deaths by promoting bird-safe buildings and save energy reducing nighttime lighting.”
The Brabson Library and Education Foundation is a philanthropic family foundation that honors the grantors and reflects the family’s passion for bold, innovative ideas that may have a significant and long-term impact, especially in education and the arts.